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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 08-19-09, 06:15 PM   #1
TechKnowGN
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The OFFICIAL Clydesdale/Athena Triathlon Thread

Hey all!

I spoke with Tom today, and he gave me permission to give this a go. Of my posts on this forum, none seem to elicit more attention than the triathlon/triathlete posts. So, we're going to do a sticky thread in the forum, and if it takes off, we'll get a little sub-forum of our own!

So, why, you may ask, do we need a triathlon sticky/sub-forum, when we already have a regular triathlon forum just a click away?! Well, I'll tell you: Because much like in our regular forum, plus-sized triathletes have some unique concerns and interests that other triathletes don't share. Like, try going into a multi-sport shop and finding a wetsuit for the uber-clyde. Not gonna happen! Your race doesn't have a Clydesdale/Athena division? No problem, we can talk about how to suggest one. Thinking about "Trying a tri" but not sure how? There are tons of resources out there.

So, this will be our place to talk specifically about the needs of larger triathletes.

I'm certainly not an expert, but I'm willing to research anything, and I'm sure we can find some folks who can help us out

As this is currently a sticky, I'll be updating the initial post with information as we build the discussion, and hopefully get to the point of a solid FAQ for the Clydesdale/Athena triathlon pack!

I haven't written one of these kinds of posts in a while, so we'll start the thread with introductions (Just copy and paste the format below):

Name: Ben
Age: 35
Clyde/Athena: Clyde
# of Triathlons completed: 3
Longest race: Sprint (750m/23K/5k)
Next Race: Sprint 9/27/09 - Nantasket Beach Triathlon
One piece of advice for fellow racers: Read the book "Slow Fat Triathlete"!!
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Old 08-19-09, 07:12 PM   #2
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49 years old
Triathlons: 9, sprint tri's, would like to do an Olympic Length tri

ONe piece of advice? Watch the transitions, and just keep going, no matter what.
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Old 08-19-09, 08:50 PM   #3
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Tom,

Thanks for letting me give this a whirl, and I had no idea you did tri's!

My fiancee and I are looking at doing a HIM (Half Ironman for the new triathletes among us) next fall, so we're going to do some sprints to get her going, and then work up to a couple olympics.
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Old 08-19-09, 10:50 PM   #4
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OK, this will no doubt shock some folks here, but I'm more or less committed to a tri thanks to my big mouth. I made a joke about the absurdity of my attempting a tri, and I got back this zinger:

"The fact that you can't run or swim is a cop out for registering for a tri... so what if you can't run, no one says you "have" to run... so walk it or trot it, etc. Swimming shouldn't be a problem, you're very buoyant..."

Since I've been told I'm a "cop out" otherwise, I'm in for a tri next year. This winter I'm going to learn to swim - what strokes I don't know, since I need to keep the scoliosis in mind - and register for a short distance event next spring. The run, err, walk must be less than three miles since my knees can only take so much stress before they give out.

Neil B.
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Old 08-20-09, 03:15 PM   #5
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Name: Brian
Age: 32
Clyde/Athena: Clyde
# of Triathlons completed: 0
Longest race; next race; advice: N/A

I already regularly bike and run and I know how to swim, and I enjoy doing all three. So, a tri seems like a logical thing to do. I know there are local events in my area throughout the year. But, I have a couple of questions:

The events I've looked into have a maximum number of entrants. Why? Are these events always full? Should I expect to be the only clyde in a field of 250 or 500?

The need for a wetsuit is mentioned in the initial post. Is one required? How about a special tri bike? Would I be making a fool of myself by showing up in board shorts for the swim and then hopping on my standard road bike?
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Old 08-20-09, 07:05 PM   #6
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The events I've looked into have a maximum number of entrants. Why? Are these events always full? Should I expect to be the only clyde in a field of 250 or 500?

The need for a wetsuit is mentioned in the initial post. Is one required? How about a special tri bike? Would I be making a fool of myself by showing up in board shorts for the swim and then hopping on my standard road bike?
Brian, Welcome!

To answer your questions:

The field could be limited for any number of reasons, but usually it's the amount of time they have permission to tie up the roads, trails, host venue, etc. It could also be determined by the number of items paid for/donated by the sponsors.

Smaller events often fill up, so the best thing to do is to sign up as soon as the event is announced. Another route is to look for new races. Sometimes, new races aren't as well run, but you have a better shot of getting in. Also, ask at the local bike, shoe, or sports store as to the best races in the area.

The kinds of athletes that make up a given race can be very interesting, and it's becoming more and more common to see clydes in triathlons, especially sprints. Think of it this way, if there's a clyde division, and you're the only clyde... you're going to podium in your first ever triathlon. So then you can relax and just work on putting up the best time you can and finish!

As for the bikes, for as many different body shapes there are, there are equally as many bike types, or more. Not only will your standard road bike be fine, depending on the race, it may even be above the median quality of bike. Personally, I've done all 3 of my races on a no-frills hybrid (Fuji Absolute 4.0). In 2 of the races, I would say my bike was somwhere near the middle. In the 3rd one, it was a little closer to the bottom, but was still better than about 1/3rd of the bikes in the race. You'll see quite a few mountain bikes and some old ten speeds.

The only thing I would recommend (HEAVILY) is looking into a pair of triathlon shorts for the race. Remember, whatever you swim in, you also have to ride in, and run in! I don't know about you but to me, heavy, sort of baggy clothes arent comfortable for whats likely to be an hour ride, or the run that follows. Triathlon shorts are a combination of swim jammers (think like the thigh length shorts they wear in the olympic swimming) and bike shorts. They have a thinner pad to sit on, not nearly as thick as bike shorts. It doesnt hold much water, and they dry fast.

While many places carry them, depending on what size of clyde you are, you may need larger ones than most stores carry. I recommend aerotech designs (www.aerotechdesigns.com) they have sizes up to 5XL. Their new advanced tri shorts are great, and the standard ones are more than sufficient.

I hope that helps, and that I didn't talk you to death.
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Old 08-20-09, 07:16 PM   #7
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OK, this will no doubt shock some folks here, but I'm more or less committed to a tri thanks to my big mouth. I made a joke about the absurdity of my attempting a tri, and I got back this zinger:

"The fact that you can't run or swim is a cop out for registering for a tri... so what if you can't run, no one says you "have" to run... so walk it or trot it, etc. Swimming shouldn't be a problem, you're very buoyant..."

Since I've been told I'm a "cop out" otherwise, I'm in for a tri next year. This winter I'm going to learn to swim - what strokes I don't know, since I need to keep the scoliosis in mind - and register for a short distance event next spring. The run, err, walk must be less than three miles since my knees can only take so much stress before they give out.

Neil B.
Mr. Historian, Sir; Welcome to our little club. I am so happy to see you here!

I walked each of my first 3 tri's, with a short sprint at the end. So, walking it is no big deal. You likely won't be the only one. The walk will likely be 3.1 miles, unless it's an ultra short sprint. Think of the extra .1 mile as a challenge

Swimming... every triathlon I know of allows all strokes, basically whatever gets you through the water. I dont know what you'll be most comfortable with, but I would at least try all of them to see what works best. And you dont have to be fast, just don't drown! Also, if the waters cool enough, you could rent a wetsuit (generally around $40 for a few days) and have extra bouyancy. You're not a supersized clyde if I'm remembering right, so you should be able to find a suit.
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Old 08-21-09, 01:43 PM   #8
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Name: Rob
Age: 43 Clyde
Denver, CO
No tri experience

I am excited to see this thread and will definitely participate as much as possible. I would like to train for a tri, so I appreciate any knowledge shared. I am headed over right now to Barnes & Noble to pick up the book recommended in the first thread, and I'm going to get her second book also called Shape Up with the Slow Fat Triathlete: 50 Ways to Kick Butt on the Field, in the Pool, or at the Gym--No Matter What Your Size and Shape.

Let's keep this thread going, and I'll share anything I learn. One question: What's the best way to learn about the shorter tri's in a given area?

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Old 08-21-09, 01:45 PM   #9
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OK I'll add my .02 in here

Name: Ken
Age: 46
Clyde/Athena: Used to be a Clyde
No of Tri's: 1 (sprint distance 400 yd swim, 16 mi bike, 5k run)
Next race: 9/27/09 (sprint distance 500 yd swim, 13 mi bike, 5k run)

My advice:

1) If its an open water swim, train a few times in the open water.
2) Take it easy during the swim portion. Don't over do it. Don't worry about the people blowing past you, just finish.
3) If its your first tri, don't worry about what you look like or what you are wearing or what you are riding, that will all come to you as you continue to do them. Having said that though a pair of tri shorts is almost a must and you can get a pair for under $40.00.
4) Have fun
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Old 08-21-09, 03:19 PM   #10
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Thanks Ben for the response. I'd never heard of tri shorts before - I assumed participants changed clothing at every transition!

One more question: what percentage of training time should be spent on swimming, assuming I just want to finish the leg comfortably but not necessarily quickly? I don't have easy access to a pool, so I could only spend about 10% of my training time swimming.

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One question: What's the best way to learn about the shorter tri's in a given area?
I checked active.com and there were 3 events in my area coming up. Give that site a look...
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Old 08-21-09, 03:21 PM   #11
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I also found www.beginnertriathlete.com with some great training programs, etc. I have no affiliation, just thought it was informative.
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Old 08-21-09, 08:31 PM   #12
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I also found www.beginnertriathlete.com with some great training programs, etc. I have no affiliation, just thought it was informative.
DoubleTap ... I frequent BT. Everyone has a different experience at each site, but here are my thoughts:

The training logs are FANTASTIC! You can enter your personal information free and easily, and provide as little or as much detail as you want.

The race reports are great for recording your own experience, and learning about other races you might want to do through reading others reports.

The regional forums are also a great way to meet local triathletes.

Personally, I find the Clyde/Athena forum to only be so-so, which is why I started this one. I didn't feel like I was learning enough from them, and I found it to not be nearly as friendly as it is here.
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Old 08-21-09, 08:40 PM   #13
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... her second book also called Shape Up with the Slow Fat Triathlete: 50 Ways to Kick Butt on the Field, in the Pool, or at the Gym--No Matter What Your Size and Shape.

One question: What's the best way to learn about the shorter tri's in a given area?
Rob, Welcome! (I guess I should have said that when I responded to your first post)

I had heard about her second book, but I haven't had time to pick it up yet. I've looked at a lot of triathlon books, and I've come away mostly unimpressed. There are some good ones to be sure, but aside from SFT, which is specific to our interest, I've determined I can learn more by reading books that specialize in one section of the race. For example, I've been reading the "Runners World Complete Book of Running". It is far more in depth to learn about running, preparation, and healing from running than the running info I get from most tri books.

Just my .02 cents though.

As for the best ways to learn about local races:

1. Google for triathlons in your city or state
2. Use the race search engine on beginnertriathlete.com
3. Ask around at your local athletic equipment/running/multisport store
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Old 08-21-09, 09:06 PM   #14
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Thanks Ben for the response. I'd never heard of tri shorts before - I assumed participants changed clothing at every transition!

One more question: what percentage of training time should be spent on swimming, assuming I just want to finish the leg comfortably but not necessarily quickly? I don't have easy access to a pool, so I could only spend about 10% of my training time swimming.

I checked active.com and there were 3 events in my area coming up. Give that site a look...
I wondered about the clothing changes at first too, but there are actually rules that if you're "exposed" during the race in anyway you can be disqualified. Of course, during the swim you can be shirtless, but usually on bikes or runs, you cannot. Again, I recommend a pair of tri shorts for sure, but you can do a speedo and athletic shorts during the bike and run if you want.

As for swimming, if you're just worried about finishing, and you're an OK swimmer as it is, then yes, you can by with just occasional swims. One key thing about swimming is that it can be VERY draining, and some races have timing requirements for each leg that you must finish under. Make sure to have an idea of what time you think you can swim the distance in.
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Old 08-22-09, 09:22 PM   #15
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Okay,
I am in
Name: Brian
Age: 44...45 in Nov
Weight: 305
Tri exp: watched one

hey guys and gals, just to reiterate a couple things...www.beginnertriathlete.com is a great and friendly website...they also have a clyde/athena section but don't always get responses to questions.

I am currently reading "Jogging and Running For Dummies" great book and easy to read. I have also read Your First Triathlon" and also will be reading "Triathletes Training Bible."
My challenge is finding a pool to swim.

My goal is to compete in a sprint next spring and then go from there.
Brian
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Old 08-23-09, 06:47 AM   #16
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Name: Brian
Age: 44...45 in Nov
Weight: 305
Tri exp: watched one
Brian, Welcome!

Do you have a specific race you've heard of already targeted, or just picking spring and going to look for race as the season gets closer?
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Old 08-23-09, 11:20 AM   #17
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There is a specific race held in my town in spring, so that is the one I am shooting for right now.
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Old 08-25-09, 06:03 AM   #18
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There is a specific race held in my town in spring, so that is the one I am shooting for right now.
That's great! You have a target date to point your training towards. I've found that to be VERY helpful!
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Old 08-25-09, 06:21 AM   #19
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Mr. Historian, Sir; Welcome to our little club. I am so happy to see you here!

I walked each of my first 3 tri's, with a short sprint at the end. So, walking it is no big deal. You likely won't be the only one. The walk will likely be 3.1 miles, unless it's an ultra short sprint. Think of the extra .1 mile as a challenge

Swimming... every triathlon I know of allows all strokes, basically whatever gets you through the water. I dont know what you'll be most comfortable with, but I would at least try all of them to see what works best. And you dont have to be fast, just don't drown! Also, if the waters cool enough, you could rent a wetsuit (generally around $40 for a few days) and have extra bouyancy. You're not a supersized clyde if I'm remembering right, so you should be able to find a suit.
The "run/walk" portion should be less than three miles. I could complete the three miles, but then I'd be done for the day.
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Old 08-26-09, 10:30 AM   #20
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The "run/walk" portion should be less than three miles. I could complete the three miles, but then I'd be done for the day.
Good thing the run/walk is last, huh?

I don't know where you live in PA, or what you're close to; but I did a simple search for mini-sprints (the mostly likely race to have a run/walk shorter than a 5k) on beginnertriathlete.com, and found one that truly qualifies as such in PA. It was 4/26/09 in Slippery Rock, PA. a 400 yard indoor pool swim, 10 mile bike course, 2.5 mile run/walk course.

The part I believe you would find most appealing about this aside from the fact that your best event is by far the longest in this race (10 miles of a 12.7 mile race gives you a chance to put in a nice time), is that this triathlon is put on to support a BIKE RIDE by an athlete with Cystic Fibrosis who uses cross country rides to raise money for CF. http://www.briansride.org/

In fact his ride this past June looks like it'd be right up your alley!
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Old 08-26-09, 12:30 PM   #21
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Historian:
I'd like to add to Ben's thought if I may.
I completed my first sprint this past spring and yes, I walked 98% of the "run". My goal was to simply complete the event. I'll never be competetive -- I'll always be BOP (Back Of the Pack) making the "real atheletes" look good.

I'm sure there are plenty of sprints & super-sprint events in the Lehigh Valley and in the Greater Philadelphia area.
I was planning on doing the Black Bear in May (Jim Thorpe) and the Catfish event this past July (Harrisburg), but my schedule changed. The Catfish seems like it would be a fun event. Predicting the river seems like it could create some anxiety -- either low & slow or high & fast.
If you are commited to doing a tri, the Catfish in July 2010 may be one to consider and give you adaquate time to train. http://www.tricatsports.com/catfish.html I believe it is also a Benefit Event for Cystic Fibrosis.
Distances -- Swim .6mile river swim (with the current ), Bike 14mi, Run 2.8. The bike & run courses are flat along the river and City Island.

Regarding the swimming, Any stroke is acceptable. If you can touch bottom, walking is permitted (although not in the spirit of the event) and is NOT grounds for disqualification. Stopping and hanging on to safety boats and bouys is usually permitted with no penalty as long as they don't assist your progress.
A wetsuit adds bouyancy if you decide to go that route.

Another source to search for events is Trifind.com Currently, the 2010 events aren't listed. They start showing up after the 1st of the year.

Hope that helped.
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Old 08-26-09, 07:36 PM   #22
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I had forgotten about trifind, I havent been there in a while. Good help, Bone Head.
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Old 09-01-09, 12:41 AM   #23
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I'm new to the forum. I just completed my first tri. It was a mini sprint distance. 250m swim, 4.5mile bike, 1.5mile run(walk actually). I am happy I finished, and I did much better than I expected. It's cool to see that people that actually ran only finished a couple minutes ahead of me.

I'm going to join a tri club in the area and begin training for next years events. My goal is to complete a sprint distance next year. The only thing holding me back is the distance of the run since I'm going to have to walk it.

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Old 09-01-09, 02:03 PM   #24
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I'm new to the forum. I just completed my first tri. It was a mini sprint distance. 250m swim, 4.5mile bike, 1.5mile run(walk actually). I am happy I finished, and I did much better than I expected. It's cool to see that people that actually ran only finished a couple minutes ahead of me.

I'm going to join a tri club in the area and begin training for next years events. My goal is to complete a sprint distance next year. The only thing holding me back is the distance of the run since I'm going to have to walk it.

kidcymucks, Welcome to our little spot!!

Congrats on the first tri!

May I ask a question: What is stopping you from running? We're all Clydes here, so if it's a weight concern, that's certainly understandable. But if it's merely no prior experience with running, then there are plans to help with that. Of course, check with a doctor before entering any training plan.

What I've found interesting is that running is the area I can most easily make a major improvement in my success. I of course continue to build on my cycling, and over the winter will push to improve my swimming with near daily pool swims. But if I can just get to a 10 minute mile, I can cut 15 minutes off my finish times.
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Old 09-01-09, 10:08 PM   #25
kwduffy02
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Ok, I'll bite too. I've never done a Tri but it is one of my goals to do one. There is a lot of great info being thrown around here, and I'm still looking through it all hehe

Name: Kevin
Age: 23, Clyde
Number of tris: 0
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